November 2009

Faculty News

Dr. Don Hall will officially retire this month, but plans to work through early December as he is teaching a course this semester. A reception, in room 1031, is scheduled for Monday, 23 November, at 2 p.m. to honor his 35 years with the department.

Drs. Jamie Ellis and Mike Scharf recently presented a joint research project at the North American Pollinator Prevention Campaign Meeting on the effects of pesticides on honey bee development. Dr. Mike Scharf also was featured on National Public Radio, discussing their results. The project was recently featured on the University of Florida homepage and is available at

A recent UF/IFAS news release features Dr. Mike Scharf, who leads a team a UF researchers who are now ready to harness a mixture of termite enzymes to produce biofuel.

Staff News

Virni Mattson recently joined the department and is housed in the front office. She previously worked in the IFAS grants office, where she worked in the pre-awards section. Her responsibilities here will be similar: to help us get grants submitted and the funding flowing. There are major changes underway in the grant processing arena, and having Virni working with us will hopefully help us transition successfully. This is something of an experiment, and we are sharing the cost with Microbiology and the Gulf Coast Research and Education Center. So while Virni will have considerable responsibilities outside this department, our access to her is much improved and her workload is greatly reduced. I am hopeful that her presence will enhance your grant efforts. Our commitment to her extends only through June, and we will discuss the value of her association before then. - Dr. John Capinera

Student News

Graduate students Teresia Nyoike, Craig Roubos and Elena Rhodes won first, second and third prize respectively, in the Ph.D. student competition at the annual Florida Entomological Society (FES) meeting. Dr. Oscar Liburd is the major professor for all three students.

Teresia Nyoike was one of the three recipients for the annual FES $500 scholarship for excellence in academic performance. She also received a minigrant for $100, and a travel grant $100 to assist with expenses to attend the 2009 FES annual meeting.

Elena Rhodes received a minigrant for $100, and a travel grant for $100 to assist with expenses to attend the 2009 FES annual meeting

William Sanders obtained the second prize at the annual Florida Entomological Society meeting. His major professor is Dr. Oscar Liburd.

Alumni News

Dr. Richard Pluke (Ph.D. '04) recently moved to Tanzania to begin duties as an environmental specialist/project manager on an agriculture project for U.S. AID. He is based in Arusha near Mount Kilimanjaro and welcomes any UF entomologist/nematologist who happens to be in that part of the world to drop him a line at


Shaver B, Kaufman PE. (October 2009). Hide beetle, Dermestes maculatus DeGeer. Featured Creatures. EENY-466.

Jha KV, Seal DR, Kakkar G. (October 2009). Chilli thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood. Featured Creatures. EENY-463.

Tartar A, Wheeler MM, Zhou X, Coy MR, Boucias DG, Scharf ME. (2009). Parallel meta-transcriptome analyses of host and symbiont gene expression in the gut of the termite R. flavipes. Biotechnology for Biofuels 2.

Fraulo AB, Cohen M, Liburd OE. 2009. Visible/Near infrared reflectance(VNIR) spectroscopy for detecting twospotted spider mite (Acari: Tetranychidae) damage in strawberries. Environmental Entomology 38: 137-142.

Arévalo HA, Fraulo AB, Liburd OE. (2009). Management of flower thrips in blueberries in Florida. Florida Entomologist, 92.

Liburd OE, Sarzynski EM, Arévalo HA, MacKenzie K. 2009. Monitoring and emergence of flower thrips species in rabbiteye and southern highbush blueberries. Acta Horticulturae 810: 251-258.

Schellhorn NA, Nyoike TW, Liburd OE. 2009. IPM Programs in vegetable crops in Australia and USA: Current status and emerging trends. In Peshin R, Dhawan AK, [Eds]. pp. 571-591. Integrated Pest Management: Innovation development Process. Springer, Netherlands.

Krewer G, Tertuliano M, Andersen P, Liburd OE, Fonsah G, Serri H, Mullinix B. 2009. Effect of mulches on the establishment of organically grown blueberries in Georgia. Acta Horticulturae 810: 483-488.

Roubos CR, Liburd OE. 2008. Effect of trap color on captures of grape root borer (Lepidoptera: Sesiidae) males and non-target insects. Journal of Agricultural Entomology 25: 99-109.

Watts SL, Garcia-Maruniak A, Maruniak JE. 2009. Tensaw virus genome sequence and its relation to other Bunyaviridae. Virus Genes 39: 309-318

Stelinski LL, Zhang A, Onagbola EO, Meyer WL. 2009. Recognition of foreign oviposition marking pheromones is context dependent and determined by preimaginal conditioning. Communicative and Integrative Biology 2: 391-393.

Espinosa A, Bowman H, Hodges A, Hodges G. (November 2009). Boisduval scale, Diaspis boisduvalii Signoret. Featured Creatures. EENY-467.

Medal J, Bustamante N, Barrera J, Avila O, Monzon J, Cuda JP. (2009). Host specificity of Anthonomus elutus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), a potential biological control agent of wetland nightshade (Solanaceae) in Florida. Florida Entomolgist, 92.

Meetings and Presentations

Blackberry field day at Citra: Those wonderful berries you were enjoying last summer are becoming popular in north/central Florida. Therefore, Dr. Oscar Liburd's Small Fruit and Vegetable IPM Lab is hosting a blackberry field day at the Plant Science Research and Education Unit in Citra on November 13, 2009, at 10 a.m. Different cultivars under different management systems will be observed and discussed in respect of their insect problems and economic importance. Feel free to swing by to meet some growers and Dale Greenwood representing Castel, AZ, and their water-gathering crystal 'Hydrosource'. Please contact Dr. Elke Weibelzahl for more information. - Dr. Elke Weinbelzahl

Dr. James P. Cuda was invited to participate in the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Florida Aquatic Plant Management Society held in Daytona Beach, FL, 12-15 October. Cuda was a moderator for one of the oral presentation sessions and also presented the paper "Biocontrol update for Florida."

Dr. James P. Cuda and Abhishek Mukherjee, a doctoral student, were invited to participate in the inaugural International Congress on Biological Invasions (ICBI) held in Fuzhou, China, 2-6 November. The purpose of the Congress is to be a forum on the increasing problem of invasive alien species (IAS) worldwide, targeting the needs of IAS management at national, regional and international levels. The ICBI provided a platform for the exchange of research and technical progress on a range of topics dealing with IAS, including gaps between research and field application related to biosecurity, quarantine and international trade as well as on the linkages and impact of climate change on biological invasions. Cuda presented the paper "Exploratory surveys for natural enemies of the invasive aquatic weed Hygrophila polysperma: preliminary results." Mukherjee's presentation was "Predicting worldwide distribution of the invasive aquatic weed Hygrophila under current and future climatic situations." Both papers were co-authored by Dr. William A. Overholt.


William Sanders obtained a graduate student research grant from the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program for $9,434. His proposal was "The smells and sounds of a subterranean sessid: mating disruption and acoustic detection of Vitacea polistiformes (Lepidoptera: Sessidae)."

Drs. James P. Cuda and William A. Overholt received a $37,500 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Osceola County (Florida) to continue research on classical biological control of the aquatic weed dwarf hygrophila, Hygrophila polysperma Anderson.


Once again, the department plans a strong presence at the annual Ocali Country Days historical festival at Silver River State Park in Marion County. This year at least 19 members of the department will be hosting our booth over the six days of the festival during November 10-15. Over 9,000 visitors are expected, most of them children (K-middle school) and teachers, and most of these are from private schools or home schoolers, a group we do not often reach. The week days are reserved for students and their teachers (reservations required), but the event is open to the general public on the weekend. Our dual-theme this year is native pollinators and available entomology school curriculum assets.

Other major, upcoming outreach events include a 4-H agent training event in January, the state fair in February, and Morningside Nature Center in April. Ben Anderson, president of our department's undergraduate Entomology Club, reports that club is planning another "Entomology Day" at the Reitz Union collonade in the near future. This was a big hit on campus last year.

Currently, the Outreach Committee is actively planning curriculum packages for K-12, a five-day Bug Summer Camp for 2010, training for county agents to run their own Bug Camps, and participation in high-school science events at UF. An outreach training event for our students, undergraduates and graduates, is planned for December 1st from 5:00-7:00 pm. As was done last year, pizza will be served. Watch for details via e-mail.

Thomas Fasulo and Dr. Jamie Ellis recently provided funds to purchase 24,000 "I Love Insects" stickers. These stickers, designed by Jane Medley, are a big hit with kids, and often serve as an inducement for them to pick up and pet our veteran outreach staff — the hissing cockroaches!

Dr. William Kern, of the Fort Lauderdale REC, has generously offered to donate $500 of his IFAS for-sale publication funds to the Outreach Committe, IF one or more other people will match that amount with a total donation of $500. Please coordinate with Dr. Rebecca Baldwin if you are interested in helping our outreach activities by contributing to make this matching grant possible. One needed item under consideration by the Committee is a new outreach tent, and the $1,000 provided by this matching fund offer could make that a reality.

Newsletter Minutiae

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. Departmental faculty, staff, students and alumni can submit news anytime to Issues usually are published by early mid-month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month.

UF-Bugnews-L listserv subscribers receive notices when issues are posted on the newsletter Web site at, which has instructions for subscribing and unsubscribing. Pam Howell and Nancy Sanders review the newsletter for errors. Thomas Fasulo does the HTML coding.

In the last 12 months, the newsletter Web site recorded 107,252 page views.

November 2009.